Paul Pogba has said he is taking legal action after denying reports he has quit the French national team set-up following remarks made by France president Emmanuel Macron on terrorism.
Macron described the murder of a French school teacher earlier this month as an “Islamic terrorist attack”, with Samuel Paty beheaded by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov – who was later shot dead by police – after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.
Reports in the Middle East claimed Pogba - who converted to Islam in 2011 - had retired from international duty following Macron’s comments at a tribute to Paty, with the Guardian reporting that anger was spreading in the Islamic world.
Pogba has since taken to social media to deny the story, placing an ‘Unacceptable fake news’ graphic over a story written by The Sun which was covering the reports.
The Manchester United midfielder said he is now taking legal action against the publishers of the story, and criticised The Sun for reporting the "absolutely 100% unfounded news".
Pogba said on Instagram: "So The Sun did it again... absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought. I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some “media” sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French National Team to the pot.
I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don’t act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring it affects people’s lives and my life. I am taking legal action against the publishers and spreaders of these 100% Fake News.
"In a quick shout out to The Sun, who normally could not care less: some of you guys probably went to school and will remember how your teacher said to always check your sources, don’t write without making sure. But hey, seems you did it again and in a very serious topic this time, shame on you!"
Manchester United have also backed Pogba, with a club spokesman saying: "Paul supports respect for his own religion and all religions, and is against any form of violence. These stories are totally unfounded. Paul is fully committed to playing for his country.”